International History: The Cold War And How It Shaped The World icedvovos Page 1 31/11/12 1A. The Origins Of The Cold War In Europe After World War II •Rise of USA and USSR as superpowers after World War II •USA and USSR’s motives: political, strategic, economic and ideological •US policy of containment: Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, formation of NATO •Sovietisation of Eastern Europe: Berlin Blockade, Warsaw Pact •Historical debate: traditional, revisionist and post-revisionist 1) BACKGROUND: Traditional vs. Revisionist Views TRADITIONAL HISTORIAN Pro-American Outlook REVISIONIST HISTORIAN Defence of USSR; USA to be blamed too •View held by most historians until 1970s. •Pre-1960s: USSR was primarily responsible for the Cold War due to: o(1) Totalitarian nature of the Communist system, resulting in SU’s expansionist ambitions to spread Communism as far as possible o(2) SU failure to adhere to wartime agreements o(3) Aggressiveness in SU actions •In US opinion, there was a global communist threat to independent but internally weak nations, including Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, in the aftermath of the war. •Thus, US security policies were seen as reasonable and necessary, defending the world from the rogue Russians. •USA is as much responsible as the USSR for the cause of the Cold War. •Possible to defend and explain USSR’s actions rather than condemn them, under the argument that USSR was not acting aggressively but defensively out of concerns for its security.•USA was insensitive to its legitimate security concerns. USA misinterpreted USSR’s actions, and so overreacted. •USA’s motivations were not as idealistic– Marshall Plan was a veiled form of economic imperialism, and meant to craft spheres of influence for herself. •Main question: Was containment justified? oTraditional: Of course! oRevisionist: US misconstrued and overreacted to SU’s legitimate security concerns. POST-REVISIONIST HISTORIAN Bridging the gap and synthesizing the first 2 views
International History: The Cold War And How It Shaped The World icedvovos Page 2 31/11/12 2) THEMATIC DIFFERENCES: Arguments of Traditional and Revisionist Views A) DEVELOPMENTS IN EASTERN EUROPE TRADITIONAL HISTORIAN REVISIONIST HISTORIAN A.Soviets possessed the goal of worldwide communism since 1917, when the Red Army expanded to Eastern Europe and brought it under their political domination. •US argued that the Red Scare was poised to enter into Western Europe next, and American resistance was thus amply justified. EVIDENCE (1) Poland •Late 1945-1947: Coalition government in Poland which is recognized by US is taken over completely by the communist through ruthless means. •Same pattern repeatedin every Eastern European country.